Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Rien by Etat Libre d'Orange

Total Reviews: 52
First smell of Rien and I for a moment thought I would like it. Out of the bottle and onto the skin, a different story unfolded. Based on the notes listed, this one should be right up my alley...however it took a different turn.

While sitting on the sofa after wearing Rien for about an husband asked me if the cat peed in the room or if the cat box needed to be cleaned. I said he hadn't and I had just emptied and refilled the litter box with fresh litter earlier that morning. He left the room and walked in again and asked if one of the boys had accidentally peed in the room or hid their wet clothing (as one not quite totally toilet trained child of our is apt to do - hide the accidental incidents). After looking around the room for the potential source, he stated it was me and didn't realize it until he got close to me. I thought it might have been my clothing or who else know.

Yes, I smelled like pee thanks to Rien. I figured I might as well ride out the storm and see where the fragrance would take me. After a few hours the urine smell did finally diminish and instead was taken over know how around mid-January when you finally decide to take down the once-live Christmas tree and it still has the faint tree sap residue with a slight tinge of mildew...that where Rien decided to leave itself for the remainder of the ride.

Strangely other Etat fragrances I've quite like, not passionately, but admire them for their qualities even if they aren't for me, such as Fat Electrician. Most of the Etat range I've tested has short longevity on my skin, but not Rien....Rien defends it's territory, sinks its teeth into my skin and refuses to let go. I'll give it kudos at least for that as it is the only admirable quality about it.
22nd April, 2017
As a fan of leather fragrances I feel this one is animalic in all the wrong ways. And though I enjoy animalic leathers like Cuir d'arabie and leather oud, this one is animalic in the sense of stale cat urine, that sharp, sweaty, "grey" smell that is quite unlike human urine. Those unfamiliar with the smell would never guess it's origins and it makes me wonder whether the perfumer has spent any time in close proximity to cats. Unfortunately my wife knows the smell too well and was horrified by this fragrance. Of course there is more going on than this central accord, but in the end this is all that attired to me. Glad I sampled first.
19th May, 2016
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
At first I was thinking, "The Knize Ten, but less oriental and complex," but then I was thinking, "vintage Red for men but with leather instead of sequoia, and again, less complex." And after a few hours, at most, my thought was that it was far too "chemical," as in chemicals being spilled in a lab! I find Leather Oud by Dior to be more "natural" smelling, and therefore superior, but it's in that "general ballpark" as well. I can understand the appeal, especially for those who like these kinds of scents and don't find this one to be too "chemical," so I'll give it a neutral rating.
08th May, 2016
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Aside from the idiotic name (who would want to buy a scent that promised to smell of nothing at all???), this has a lot going for it and a major strike against it.

From a distance, it is a beautiful sweet leather, strong and pungent. Turin gives it four stars, calls it an "animalic leather," and notes that is "no other unsweetened leather out there."

In addition to the notes mentioned above, "Incense, Rose, Leather, Iris, Cistus, Oakmoss, Black Pepper, Aldehydes, Cumin, Patchouli," I detect a good deal of cedar and Oud. It is the Oud that gives it too harsh and sharp an undertone to be ultimately a pleasant experience for me.

Had Etat left the harshness out of the formula, this would be a go-to leather scent for me. As is, I will stick with my Knize Ten, Chanel's Cuir de Russie, and SL's Iris Silver Mist as my favorite leathers.
21st September, 2015
Aldehydes and leather with incense is how it starts. Big and bold, the leather is a little animalic, at the edge of being offensive. Developing into the heart, something sweet emerges, I suppose it's the styrax. Further, the fragrance becomes a creamy leather accompanied by the flowers and goes like this for a very long time.

It is not for everyone, that's for sure, but I like it. Not usually a fan of animalic perfumes, and this one kind of walks that line; but it is more than that, the carnal leather mixed with the flowers are addictive, making you lust for it. It might seem daring and repulsive, but you can't take your mind out of it. If you don't like it at first, give it a chance, it might surprise you.
05th September, 2015
Phenomenal sillsge and projection. I get animalic, incense, patchouli and oakmoss and it stays on your skin forever. Well I could still sense the smell after a shower. It the kind of scent 2 sprays would go all day long and many compliments. Quality, powerful stuff.
16th August, 2014
Genre: Leather

The listed notes tell me that I should adore Rien, but the sparks never really fly. Rien starts out with a burst of aldehydes and dry powder, soon followed by a gentle incense note and a very light rose. Because it's utterly devoid of sweetness, the rose/incense accord feels weightless and ethereal, even when leather and oakmoss rise up beneath it. The moss and leather are seasoned with black peppercorn in a medicinal combination that brings to mind a very soft oudh.

Rien persists in this vein for quite some time, becoming drier and more woody with age. Though none is listed, I smell something suggestive of cedar in the base, and that note brings the drydown surprisingly close to the late stages of Diptyque's cedar-lined Tam Dao (!?). On the whole, I'd describe Rien as a very dry, gray "scratchy" fragrance, and believe that earlier reviewers have been spot on calling it stony or mineralic. In the end I think it's interesting, but not necessarily compelling.
25th June, 2014
Outstanding. I am surprised how much I like this - crave it even. It is a complex smell. The first blast is chewy, reminding me of biting into something inedible, but I can't pinpoint what. It is slightly musty, like fruit about to turn, maybe the bloom on a mulberry, although I stress that the smell itself is not fruity at all. It quickly blooms into an almost blowsy, embarrassing urinal cake accord, which oddly enough is quite attractive (yes, I realize that this is weird, but truly, this part is not repulsive). I suppose this would be the civet? The opening feels like it is classically-made, belonging to the eighties, maybe.

Then, I get rubber, heat, leather, engine oil. But a well-oiled flow of it, not a jagged sequence of events. It dries down to a comfortable leather accord, more rounded and fuller than Cabochard, but vaguely reminiscent of it. It is not as butch as the description would lead you to believe. It is very sexy in a "I don't care what you think of me, bitch" way. Oh, and it is not as strong on me as on other reviewers - on me, it softens to a skin scent, and melds with my own chemistry/body odors.

06th May, 2014
You're alone in the desert, wearing an expensive leather jacket and burning incense in a campfire. At times, from a long-forgotten oil well somewhere in the middle of the desert, you get a slight fascinating whiff of crude petroleum.

This is Rien. An absolute masterpiece of modern perfumery, cleverly blended and always surprising everytime you wear it.
OUTSTANDING LONGEVITY (once I sprayed my wrist and after over 24 hours I could still smell it) and incredible sillage: the only "problem" with Rien is that everyone won't be able to help smelling you.

05th January, 2014
Solid and thick in sillage and duration..retro style as I like...leather and hints of smokiness and incense..really great!
31st December, 2013
Tony T Show all reviews
United States
very distinct and charesmatic, just not for me. smells of leather and oakmoss is very overwhelming. a definate powerhouse with great longevity but not modern.the aldehydes and patchouli remain as dark as can be.i just sold my decant on ebay after testing once again. not a very likable scent for the under 40 crowd. maybe a good scent to wear to a funeral or something dark and gloomy.
06th May, 2013
As soon as ELDO products arrived to a luxury retailer for the first time in Budapest last week, I went down to sample this perfume, I couldn't wait!

Now, am I the only one who thinks this is nothing out of the ordinary? Having read all the brilliantly outraged reviews here, I was expecting a decent amount of skank. I've been wearing the decant since yesterday, and all I get instead is a very dusty, muted leather warmed up by frankincense and spices. I admit, the leather is a bit chemical/tarry along Bvlgari Black's lines, and the whole thing is as beautiful as only a niche perfume can be, but this is certainly nothing groundbreaking...

Upon first application (spray), there's a striking similarity to Bandit (huge amount of old leather and oakmoss), and a few minutes later it turns into none other than the venerable Kouros itself with the leather and incense notes turned up a bit, and the animalic skank (civet) more muted. After about 30 minutes, it's not even that - the whole thing warms up to become a generic leather/frankincense niche thing (along the lines of, let's say, MDO Les Nombres d'Or Cuir), that lasts for quite a time, and projects a little less. In the end, it ends up jawdroppingly similar to Dzing!, without the vanilla and with something camphoraceous in the background (maybe another link to Black's leather notes).

The hype's okay, but if you are looking for a really animalic / chemical / dark leather composition, look elsewhere: Montale's Aoud Cuir d'Arabie eats this thing for breakfast. After an hour, this is less challenging to wear than even Kouros or Salvador Dalí PH. If you want piss, dribble and unwashed parts, Miel de Bois cuts it better.

This is a brilliant perfume with a commencement as long and complex as, say, War and Peace (going from Bandit to Dzing! is no easy feat), but it isn't any more difficult and skanky than Dzing! or Kouros. If those perfumes send you screaming, stay away - otherwise, try it by all means!
22nd March, 2013
Rien is certainly one of the most challenging fragrances that I own, being extremely strong and extremely polarizing, yet it's so delicious and uniquely distinctive that I can't stop myself from wearing it, being fond, as I am, of "force of nature" fragrances.

The opening is all black pepper and a dense, suffocating blast of aldehydic mayhem which lasts for a hour on me before it even starts to soften. It's after this that the leather begins to peek-out in earnest, and all the while an incense reminiscent of Nag Champa pushes-forth from the base.

This is not a fragrance for the meek or feint-of-heart. Overdosage (three sprays pushes the limit) is extraordinarily unpleasant, and this juice should be applied with extreme caution. One spritz is enough for the office; it will genuinely last all day; two if I'm heading somewhere ritzy. I would never, ever invite Rien out for dinner or to travel with me on an airplane, yet despite my reservations about it's potential for antisocial behaviour, I cannot imagine life without it.

January 2017 - Got a new 100mL bottle of Rien for Christmas and yes, there has been a reformulation. The overall impression is the same, the power hasn't changed all that much, but there is some weight missing at the bottom now. Given Rien's almost nuclear power, this is not necessarily a bad thing! It's still moutwatering and distinctive.
03rd March, 2013 (last edited: 02nd January, 2017)
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Very odd.
The opening is dry, but really strange. Hint of pepper but mainly a piercing, industrial note like glue, solvent or hot light bulbs. A woody-spice note in an quirky mutant, sci-fi vein. Hot plastic, volatile glue... really not my scene.
09th December, 2012
This is how I like my fragrances - strong, bold, way out of the box! With my usual hard finger on the trigger I made the mistake of over-applying this one...GREAT, but even I, who wear 12 sprays of A*men had to realise - less is more! This isn't "Nothing", it should be re-named to "Too Much" lol!

I am useless at analysing the notes, but I do get the aldehydes, ink and leather mentioned.

Love it!
08th December, 2012
Strange, mysterious, evocative ... Imagine riding a motorcycle to organic chem lab (running late) wearing a black leather jacket usually kept in a cedar chest? Wear it to New York City.
26th November, 2012 (last edited: 27th February, 2016)
Excellent! At heart a leather scent, but there are many other things going on. There are florals and a little bit of spices and rubbery feeling to it, but everything is so well blended that distinct notes do not pop up. It is a dry scent which smells masculine to me, but women may find the urge to chase after you.

24th November, 2012
This has a dark, bitter, astringent & almost harsh opening of dry leather & ash, & it certainly does strike me as a "don't mess with me" fragrance! After a few moments, hints of pepper & civet begin to peep through, & it steadily becomes more skanky & smoky. l get an impression of the aftermath of a wild fetish party in a smoky basement club. Twenty minutes in, the edges soften, & l get powder, incense & a wonderfully animalic leather beneath. The projection is good, & it hums along nicely for a good six-seven hours before fading.
The opening is indeed a rough ride, but l love the drydown of this one. Like the lovechild of Habanita & Bal a Versailles, it combines the smoky incense & the animalic powder that l adore from each. Fantastic! lt may take a couple more wearing before l decide that this is for me, but there may well be a bottle, or at least a decant, of this in my future.
22nd November, 2012
Well, to begin with, this fragrance called Rien ( which of course means "nothing" in french) is as far from nothing as it's possible to get. Firstly, because it should be used sparingly to avoid the wrath of the fragrance sensitive. Secondly, because next to Mitsouko and Chanel's Cuir de Russie, this is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever worn. At the moment I have only a sample bottle, but I forsee a full-sized bottle in my future!
01st November, 2012
...extreme, intense, addictive, absolutely gorgeous!
09th October, 2012
Ralph Show all reviews
United Kingdom
An absolutely glorious monster of a fragrance: bold, austere, intimidating and bewitching.

01st September, 2012 (last edited: 12th September, 2012)
Medicine cabinet in musty mansion, naphthalene balls roll across the floor, in the distance someone cranks up Sisters of Mercy, a door creaks open… welcome, oh terrible dark lord.
Alternatively, the banks of an Indian river, the smoke of pyres, ash-smeared sadhus with matted hair light their chillums…
My oh my, this is some head trip. Dry, bitter, smoky, the storax there right from the start, an impression of some fruit on the turn at the opening, but then a glove of antique leather slips over the entire thing. It has the duality of potent drugs – will it cure or will it harm?
If my somewhat headlong descriptions make it sound otherwise, apologies, for this is a model of balance. Where other incense/resin/leather frags try too hard to prove some butch point, this one just is. Not everyone's taste for sure, but to me it felt like a second skin and somehow thoroughly now.
30th May, 2012
Fantastic stuff!!
It moves somewhere between the elegant and understated seduction of Antaeus and the incensed skanky side of Yatagan.
after a full wearing with it, I was completely amazed by its warm , cozy and slightly sweet floral dry-down. I was so mesmerized by its skanky aura of incense.
It was an excellent and eternal dry down!
14th March, 2012
It's a real scrubber for me, I'm afraid. A nasty mix of cracked Styrax and Birch Tar. If you want to smell like a cold, unraked fireplace this one is for you. Unfortunately it is very strong and very long lasting.
07th March, 2012
Elzéard Show all reviews
United Kingdom
One spray on my wrist was far too much. In fact, it gave me a headache. To me it seemed like a much less refined Knize Ten (which I must say is brilliant). Twice the volume, but no control or balance. Smelling this on my wrist gave a similar feeling to glancing at an incredibly bright light, after just waking up with tired and sensitve eyes.
27th December, 2011
Thanks to my learned friend Alfarom i've tested this wonderful incensey and rosey leather scent in the vein of Pure Aoud by Kilian (they share notes as cistus labdanum, balsams-may be rose, berries and aoud not listed in killian- animalic notes and others). Very, very vintage in its link of aldehydes, rose-iris and patchouli. The sensation is like inhaling the odour of an old  wardrobe with furs inside. Leaning over the womanly side in my opinion. The animalism of the scent is sheer (civet? May  be just the cistus labdanum) as well as its sinister appeal in reminiscence of the old Paris in its old buildings' interiors. The first introdution of the smell is under clothes of floral and smoky leather, vanilla, corrupted fruits and medicinal aoud. The not listed aoud is minimal but present, in my opinion, although is possible that the medicinal trait is produced by aldehydes in the first moment of the evolution. Anyway the first sensation is a bit laundry and detergent and this old-bathroom vibe is boasted by the presence of iris in the blend, before a smoky creaminess takes off. I detect the presence of blackcurrant that imprints that sort of mellow fruits smell that pushes up the leathery and vintage vibe. As well as Foetidus underlined i don't get a notable note of incense,  while the smoke is prominent over the floral leather. Possibly the real protagonist of the leathery-smoky feel is the complex element of the ambery cistus labdanum, a very articulated, ambery and smoky animalic kind of smell. May be the incense, in connection with aldehydes, black pepper and cumin, produces a touch of gas that recedes with time. The cumin is notable here as well is notable in a fragrance this one reminds a bit to, i mean the ghosty Serge Noir Lutens. Obviously in the general vintage and dark atmosphere could not be assent another protagonist, a patchouli that is floral and leathery and endly woodsy because of the presence of a rounding oakmoss. Another wonderful dark and vintage concoction.
24th November, 2011 (last edited: 29th November, 2011)
I don’t get the blackcurrant bud in the opening, but I do get leather and aldehydes. I’m surprised at the leather because it is a rather strong version, and yet I barely dislike it… I hate most leather notes. There’s a definite smoky / incense aspect to this leather – the pyramid says “frankincense” but it smells more smoky to my nose, possibly because the leather is so strong. There’s also some spice that I can smell but not identify. Powder? Not really… nor do I get much vanilla in the base. The leather dominates from beginning to end to such an extent, that I do not consider myself as a good judge of what’s really happening in the fragrance: It’s an interesting fragrance and my main reaction to it is that I don’t exactly like it, but I’m surprised that I can tolerate it. Rien has very little movement or complexity for me. It’s a long lasting fragrance with better than average sillage

I will vote a neutral for Rien, but I’m tempted to vote a thumbs up simply because it’s a strong leather scent that doesn’t revolt me… they must have done a lot right in this one.

09th October, 2011
Kaern Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Believe it or not, Rien is like Knize Ten cranked up tenfold. It's a very powerful deep and dark animalic leather with no softening edges. I couldn't wear Rien comfortably, but some love it. It tends to polarise, so I am going to give it a neutral - ha ha.

Stop Press:I have tested the new Pentachords range from Andy Tauer and would like to put on record that 'Auburn' is quite simply the best oriental I have ever experienced -- it's basically cinnamon, lemon, sandalwood and incense, but it's so much more than the sum of it's parts. Truly wonderful and needs to be tested. Wasn't as knocked out by the other two in the range, but that maybe because I tried them after 'Auburn'.

I have done 180's on 2 fragrances, namely Orange Star by Tauer and Guerlain's Double Vaniille -- I love them both now. That will teach me not to write kneejerk reviews.

There is a new 'Oud' synthetic available now to perfumers and fragrances with this note are (boringly) everywhere now. Surprisingly, the best I have come across is by Jo Malone and called 'Bergamot and Oud'. It's a really refined and lovely scent -- not like a lot of these 'ouds' that leave you cross-eyed and close to collapse.
30th September, 2011
Rien starts off with a splurge of aldehydes laced with leather. Some incense/florals begin to make there way in, though not too heavy. The leather is animalistic and on drydown it becomes very woody. Almost cedar-like. I would think just looking at the notes that I’d love this fragrance, but I’ve worn it several times and it just doesn’t do it for me.
25th July, 2011
Rien is a leather, yes, but what constitutes a leather note in perfumery is often vague. ‘Floral’ and ‘woody’ are broad categories as well. Yet we make distinctions in florals (by species: jasmine, tuberose, lily; descriptively: bright, orchestral, indolic) and woods (by tree: sandlewood, cedar, birch; qualitatively: grassy, earthy, milky.) Even a genre as vague as ‘green’ lets us specify by ingredient (galbanum, neroli, vetiver) and by attribute (fruity, resinous, bitter.) For leathers, we might point to the ingredients of rectified birch tar or isoquinolones, but in general we’re usually just loosely descriptive, often to the point of obscurity. Smokey, tarry, rubbery, ‘like the inside of a purse,’ suede-like. Suede-like? We might as well say carpet-like. Evocative, yes, but this terminology doesn’t give us a lot of analytical range.

What are the actual differences in the leather characteristics of Knize Ten, Cuir de Russie, Carillon pour un Ange, Azurée, Habit Rouge? I have no answers, but am curious.

But Rien is a bit different. It uses a combination of ingredients that each gives a slightly different angle on the qualities of dryness, dustiness, inkiness, metal, bitterness. It suggests the scent of a thick leather motorcycle jacket. Incense, cistus, cumin, styrax, aldehydes. Find the wrong angle on any of these components and Rien could have been a muddle if not a mess. As it turns out, though, (and here I fall prey to dim descriptions of the leather genre) Rien is a gorgeous, sharp, harsh leather. Distinctive, striking, beautiful? Utterly. Pretty, cozy, something Sephora has trained its customers to like? Not by a long shot.

Etat Libre d’Orange doesn’t target the mainstream perfume buyer, and thus avoids the sort of fragrance that a good few might like and an even larger number won’t actually mind. For the complaints, valid or not, leveled against niche perfumery (pretension, dilettante exclusivity, smugness) Rien is a beautiful example of the effectiveness of a well-curated line and risk-taking. In addition, it is no more expensive than many designer releases.

Rien is a terrific perfume, and perhaps more importantly, an example of a creative, successful strategy by a niche house.
16th July, 2011